Category Archives: Restaurant

Brewnuts: Donuts & Beer

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What is better than a donut shop? …A donut shop with beer!

Located in the Gordon Square neighborhood of Cleveland, Brewnuts combines two delicious tastes, not typically enjoyed together. Clevelanders Shelley and John Pippin, not only incorporate craft-beer as an ingredient in their doughy deliciousness, but also serve sixteen local brews on tap (and even more bottled). The donuts are all hand-made in their shop, with a regularly changing menu that includes traditional favorites and seasonal features. During my recent visit, the daily offerings included Maple Bacon, Strawberry Sprinkle and Peanut Butter Cocoa Pebbles, among others.

The shop features artwork by local artist Glen Infante and bright-pink donut floaties adorning the tropical-leaf printed wallpaper. Enjoy a donut or brew at the counter or relax in the lanai-inspired sitting area. The Brewnuts shop is trendy and tropical, with decor fitting for both the ladies of Mean Girls and Golden Girls.

Brewnutslounge

*Photos by IQ
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Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado-Samana, Dominican Republic

1-LBP Cayo Levantado_Aerial View

The Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado sits on its own island, accessible only by ferry, off the secluded Samana Peninsula in the Dominican Republic. This luxury all-inclusive resort is perfect for couples seeking a romantic escape, away from a party scene.

Though there’s much to explore in Samana, the Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado has you covered should you want to stay put on your own little Caribbean island. The all-inclusive resort offers 6 restaurants, with buffet and international a la carte options; and 4 bars, including a beach bar and a pool bar. Guests have full access to the resort’s relaxing private beach with kayaks and paddle boards available for use. There is also a public beach for day-trippers with lively beachside restaurants and bars. The resort even includes a scuba diving lesson in one of its 2 pools, should you want to prepare for deeper sea exploration. At night, you can hit the disco or enjoy nightly entertainment, ranging from acrobats to dance troupes. During our stay they even featured a synchronized swimming performance. Or you can wind down a romantic evening in your room with a specially prepared bath, from their butler services menu…

Read the full article, published in ManAboutWorld by clicking here

https://www.manaboutworld.com/checkout-luxury-bahia/

 

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IQ in EDGE: Puerto Vallarta’s Almar Resort

Couple at Pool at Mantamar Beach Club

The Mantamar Beach Club at the Almar Resort

The newest and only luxury beachfront LGBTQ hotel in Puerto Vallarta will make your tub bubbleth over. With hot tubs in 29 of its 78 suites; an infinity pool (featuring swim-up bar and more hot tubs) off the sands of Los Muertos Beach; member access to Mantamar Beach Club, the premier beach club in Zona Romantica; and a rooftop bar with heart-warming sunset views, drag shows and — yes, even more hot tubs — the Almar Resort is making sassy classy in Mexico’s favorite gay beach retreat…

Click here to read the full article published in EDGE.

Ivan Quintanilla published in Edge Media

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IQ in New York Magazine: San Antonio

With new museums and riverfront projects, San Antonio is finding new ways to celebrate its international history…

Click on the picture below to read the article published in New York Magazine:

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Dutch Attitude at a Caribbean Latitude

The Dutch island of Curaçao invites you to experience European sophistication with Caribbean warmth.

Offering an enticing combination of Dutch Attitude at a Caribbean Latitude, Curaçao is emerging as one of the Caribbean’s most popular gay destinations.  A rare island where tourists and locals effortlessly coexist, Curaçao imbues your tropical vacation with cultural authenticity.

Conveniently located outside the Hurricane Belt, Curaçao enjoys year-round 80-degree days with minimal rain, perfect for both beach and city escapes.  To best experience the island’s diversity, the sister properties of Kura Hulanda (kurahulanda.com) offer the “Best of Both Worlds” Package.  Spend two nights admiring the Dutch Colonial architecture of the island’s capital, while staying at the UNESCO World Heritage designated Hotel Kura Hulanda (Langestraat 8-Willemstad).  This luxury boutique resort boasts glorious courtyards, multiple pools, restaurants, a spa and casino.  Then, spend three nights perched on rugged cliffs overlooking the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean, at the secluded Lodge Kura Hulanda & Beach Club (Playa Kalki-Westpunt) on the island’s western tip.  The Lodge’s onsite dive shop, Ocean Encounters West (oceanencounterswest.com), will complete your beach vacation by arranging snorkeling, diving, and boating excursions.

Planning your honeymoon?  Both resorts are members of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association and are eager to celebrate New York’s recent Marriage Equality victory.  Until December 22, they are offering newlyweds who present a valid New York marriage license a free upgrade and dinner for two.

All right, time to get a little sweaty and explore the island’s natural beauty.  Hardcore hikers should head to Christoffel National Park (christoffelpark.org) where you can climb 1,240 feet to the top of Mt. Christoffel, the island’s highest point.  On a clear day you can see the coasts of Venezuela and Bonaire.  If you prefer a rough ride, then fasten your seatbelt because it’s going to be a bumpy one.  Eric’s ATV Adventures (curacao-atv.com) will take you through the wildest and most beautiful parts of Curaçao, including cliffs, dunes, caves and beyond.

Next, explore the tasty variety of Curaçao’s cuisine.  Located about a mile from the Lodge Kura Hulanda, Landhuis Misjé (landhuismisje.com) serves up Caribbean comfort food with a sophisticated flair. Clearly stating her “100% gay friendly” policy on the restaurant website, Chef Graciela Real will make you feel right at home serving a unique fusion of the island’s Latin, Dutch and Caribbean influences in the lantern-lit yard of this restored plantation home.   Want to recreate the island’s flavor back home? Learn the necessary skills at Angelica’s Kitchen (Hoogstraat 49-Willemstad, angelicas-kitchen.com) Caribbean cooking class.  The ladies of the Kitchen will teach you how to make delicious “no fuss food” in a relaxed, festive setting.  Drink, cook, eat and bond with a group of old friends or favorite new acquaintances.   For a tasty Mojito or Caipirinha, head to the Latin-inspired café and bar Mundo Bizarro (Nieuwestraat 12-Pietermaai, mundobizarrocuracao.com).  Part restaurant, part live music venue, Mundo is a perfect spot to socialize with the locals.

Want to make a splash? Curaçao will be dripping with cocktail, beach, and boat parties from September 30-October 2, when it kicks off the 7th annual Get Wet gay party weekend.    Year round, Madame Jeanette “aims to make being Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered, Bisexual or just confused a perfectly normal thing to be, one Party at a time!”  The island’s hostess with the mostest throws her extravagant theme parties on the second Saturday of every month at TuTu Tango (Kaya Jombi Mensing 18-Willemstad, tutu-tango.com).  For information on all upcoming events and parties, visit GayCuracao.com.

Less than a three-hour flight from the U.S., Curaçao provides a taste of Northern Europe in the Southern Caribbean.  Trade your wooden shoes for a pair of sandals and enjoy the island’s “Live and Let Live” progressive attitude—with a tan!

(This article originally appeared in Next Magazine)

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Puerto Vallarta Gets Tastier

If variety is the spice of life, gay Vallarta just got tastier.   Casa Cupula (http://www.casacupula.com), the decidedly upscale, boutique gay hotel in Puerto Vallarta, has opened its new restaurant Taste to the public. Perched on a secluded hillside, overlooking the Bay of Banderas, Taste is all about options. Choose to dine in the newly redesigned intimate dining room or under the sunshine/moonlight on the adjoining terrace.

What are you hungry for? Taste is prepared to satisfy all your culinary cravings— serving a sampling of Mexican, American, Asian and South American cuisine, available in both entrée and tapas (or “taste”) sized portions. With options including Shrimp Stuffed Ancho Peppers, Lamb Lollipops, Chicken Curry Samosas and Traditional Peruvian Ceviche, “you can Taste your way around the world in one meal, perfect for people on vacation who can’t return frequently,” says restaurant manager Erick Martinez.

Also, for the first time, the Sunday Mimosa Brunch previously enjoyed exclusively by hotel guests, is now open to everyone. The casa will keep the bubbles flowing, while you chat with old friends or make new ones at the community dining table. Afterwards, you are invited to work on your tan poolside while Casa Cupula hosts its weekly Sunday Pool Party for the boys (and girls) of Puerto Vallarta.

*This  article was originally published in Out Traveler:

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Puerto Vallarta: Mexico’s Premier Gay Destination

Traveling IQ is published in EDGE

Bay of Banderas, Puerto Vallarta

Doomsday predictions, economic woes and natural disasters got you down? Take a breath, relax and try to remember that you will never be as young as you are right now. So stop texting, disconnect the Blue Tooth, and activate your “Out of Office” reply. It’s time for a well-deserved break in a place where Blackberries are fruits, not handhelds; and handholding a fruit is a Public Display of Affection not a Personal Digital Assistant. Welcome to Puerto Vallarta!

Mexico’s premier gay destination is booming with new restaurants, fresh sights and revamped classics. In Puerto Vallarta you can relax by the beach, explore the great outdoors, savor gourmet meals and party all night long.

You like these options, don’t you? Come on. Stop and smell the flowers and discover why this sweet, sexy town is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Charm and Sophistication

Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Madre Mountains, Puerto Vallarta combines the charm of colonial Mexico with the sophistication of a cosmopolitan, gay destination.

Start with a tan at the Blue Chairs Beach, truly the gay hotspot of the Mexican Riviera. Enjoy food and drinks served chair-side while you sizzle with the beauties of gay Vallarta.

Wind down your beach day with an unobstructed view of the sunset, hot strippers and zany drag queens on the rooftop deck of the Blue Chairs Hotel.

For those looking to explore the outdoors, Puerto Vallarta offers a little something for everyone. Take a walk on the wild side with the new GO GAY! Jungle Adventure Tour . Feel that heart pumping as you soar 250 feet above the jungle terrain on a 500-foot long zip-line. Perfect for both Tarzan AND Jane, this full-day expedition revs you up and cools you down.

After your adrenaline rush, chill with a tequila sampling, traditional Mexican grill lunch, and a splash in a private waterfall and swimming hole. Created by My Own Concierge, Vallarta’s premiere gay concierge service, this tour will leave you a little wet and dirty – just how you like it.

“You will leave happy and come back.”

Too intense for you? Unwind on Diana’s Tours full-day gay cruise. Your morning starts with continental breakfast and continues with an open bar as you glide on the Bay of Banderas and through its hidden coves. Later, debark on a snorkeling excursion and lunch on shore before heading back from your sun-soaked day.

I hope you are hungry because Puerto Vallarta’s restaurants are cooking up some of Mexico’s best meals. First, say yes to the new kid in town: No Way José delivers on a simple promise, “You will leave happy and come back!”

Winner of Virtual Vallarta’s Reader’s Choice Award for “Best New Restaurant 2010,” José serves contemporary Mexican cuisine that combines tradition and ingenuity. Savor the secret family recipe of Sopa Montezuma, a cactus soup with deliciously seasoned shrimp, before enjoying the grilled Mahi Mahi Carlotta, served on a bed of sautéed pumpkin flowers with a creamy mango sauce.

“Best Mexican Restaurant” Five Years in a Row

A quick-climbing classic on the Puerto Vallarta dining scene, gay-owned El Arrayán has won “Best Mexican Restaurant” five years in a row!

El Arrayán’s authentic Mexican menu blends pre-Hispanic ingredients (chile, cactus paddles, bean and corn) with European-introduced elements (pork, beef and cheese) now considered to be Mexican staples. Embark on a culinary tour of the country’s regions – Plantain Empanadas from Veracruz, Chapulines Tacos from Oaxaca, Cochinita Pibil from Yucatan – while sipping on their trademark margarita, made with tangy arrayán fruit.

It’s party time. Find some romance in the thriving gay nightlife of Zona Romantica. Ease into the evening with a martini at the relaxed lounge, La Noche, before hitting the dance floor at the new and improved, Paco’s Ranch.

That’s right, after fifteen years, Paco has moved across the street to an exciting, renovated location. Mingle with the locals on the dance floor or enjoy the show from the upstairs mezzanine.

Like things a little bigger? Club Mañana, the largest gay nightclub in Puerto Vallarta continues to expand with its latest indoor “Barcito,” providing a cool, air-conditioned break from your steamy Mexican night.

Don’t stop till you get enough: If you are craving a more personal encounter, make some new friends with the dancers at Picante and Anthropology strip bars.

Casa Cupula

You must be exhausted. It’s time to retire to your suite at Puerto Vallarta’s premier gay luxury boutique hotel, Casa Cupula. Yes, Puerto Vallarta has many gay guesthouse options, but none are as fabulous as Casa Cupula.

Just a ten-minute walk from the Blue Chairs Beach and the nightlife hot spots of Zona Romantica, Casa Cupula is close to all the action while providing the exclusivity of a hillside hideaway. It’s rare to find a gay hotel with five-star amenities. Enjoy the Cupula classics: chill by any of the three pools, snuggle in the seven-man (or woman) hot-tub, sweat in the full-service Pump Gym, or delight in a sunset-lit dinner at the newly unveiled Taste restaurant.

Serving American, Asian, Mexican and Italian specialties, in both entrée and tapas-sized portions, Taste is Casa Cupula’s latest temptation for a satisfying vacation.

Beware: once you check-in, you may never want to leave. And with free WiFi, delicious meals, spectacular sunsets, and the best accommodations gay Vallarta has to offer, you may wisely choose to make Cupula, your casa away from home.

Feel better? Recharged? Ready to conquer the world? Good. A little break in Puerto Vallarta does the body a lot of good. Now get back to work so you can plan your next visit.

This article was originally published in EDGE.  Click on photo below to visit their website. 

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Halsted Holla!

Photo by Jason Paul Smith

Wow.  Boo!  Wow.  Chicagoans can really howl on Halloween!  I’m sure experiencing it as a tourist helped, but last year’s Halsted Halloween Parade was a scary good time.  In New York, I would never dream of standing in the cold October night of the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade—the crowds, the noise, the fear that at any moment the festivities could spiral into catastrophe.

Halloween can often feel like amateur hour.  It is the one night regular folk get to be actors, drag queens or whores—or all three!  Hiding behind a costume frees people to express themselves beyond their regular comfort level.  Add a few shots, puffs, snorts (or what have you) and your tale can end with soaring fireworks or an explosive burn.  Lucky for Matt and me, visiting Chicago last Halloween proved to be a blast.

Our night started as voyeurs along the parade route.  After the ample helping of Halloween fluff, we were ready for a little sustenance.  One of the two tables actually eating at Firefly, we inhaled one of the best macaroni and cheeses I’ve ever had, as the rest of the packed restaurant enjoyed prancing around, drinking, chatting, and watching the parade from the windows.  As we were not in costume, checking out the scantily clad Chippendale boys and sexy Dorothys (who I knew hadn’t eaten all week) while stuffing our faces with burgers and the aforementioned cheesy deliciousness, was especially satisfying.

With full bellies and happy hearts we joined our friend Kevin who, over the next three hours, took it upon himself to show us every bar in Boystown.  A blur of alternating martinis, Redbulls, and occasional waters later, we settled into the spinning stupor of our comfy Best Western bed.

We had emerged from Halloween unscathed… yet inexplicably covered in glitter.

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NYC: Sweet Treats on Wheels

New Yorkers are constantly on the go. Why should our food be any different? Food trucks of all varieties continue to expand their customer base by parking their mobile restaurants on the different streets of New York City. From tacos to pizza to dumplings, if you can imagine it, there is probably a truck serving it down the block. But times are tough and IQ likes his sugar, so let’s sweeten our summer with some of the city’s most unique desserts on wheels.

Liege with Ice Cream

First stop, Belgium. Wafels & Dinges brings the Belgian Waffle to our Yankee curbs. Choose the light ‘n crispy Brussels Wafel, or the soft ‘n chewy Liege Wafel, and dress it up with your favorite Dinges (toppings). Go fruity (strawberries, bananas), sugary (dulce de leche, chocolate fudge, maple syrup) or creamy (butter, whipped cream, ice cream). Truck locations are posted on the site, on Twitter @waffletruck or by calling 866.429.7329.

Next, pull up to the bumper for the baby-sized deliciousness of New York’s first mobile, gourmet cupcake shop. When Lev Ekster graduated from law school last year, the job market was…well, pretty sour.  But when life gives you lemons…you make a lemon meringue cupcake. Lev assembled a team of bakers, created recipes, and revved the engine of Cupcake Stop, a traveling store of fresh-baked, hand-made cupcakes. Follow the tweets to your sweet treat @cupcakestop.

Gobbler

Our final parker is the brainchild of a classically trained bassoonist with a little soft-serve and a lot of flair. The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck was created by Douglas Quint, a graduate of The Manhattan School of Music and The Juiliard School (and presumably a homosexual). The menu combines traditional soft-serve ice cream with imaginative toppings and funky names. Cool your lips with a Salty Pimp (vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate with dulce de leche and sea salt) or be thankful for the Gobbler  (vanilla ice cream with pumpkin butter, crushed graham crackers, whipped cream and craisins). Follow the truck’s location on its site or on Twitter @biggayicecream and top yourself off with some sweet rainbow sprinkles this summer.

(All pictures provided by the vendors)

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NYC Restaurant Week

Hey New Yorkers, are you hungry?
NYC Restaurant Week allows you to sample three-course, prix-fixe meals at some of the city’s most amazing restaurants for $24.07 at lunchtime and $35 at dinner.  From now until September 6, pull up a chair at more than 275  New York City restaurants.  Go classy (Le Cirque, Cipriani) or sassy (Nobu, Megu), but don’t forget to make a reservation, as the most popular places fill up fast.  For a complete list of this summer’s restaurants, click here.

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